SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — Widespread snow, mixed with rain, arrived along the Wasatch Front just in time for the morning drive, prompting the 2News Weather Team to issue a First Alert Weather Day for Friday, March 24.
The First Alert is specifically for the AM commute, as temperatures are forecasted to drop even lower, taking what's left of the rain and making it snow.
This article is being updated throughout the morning with new forecast details and traffic information.
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Winter has returned to Utah for the weekend. Temperatures will feel more like January rather than late-March and scattered snow showers will pop up each day through Sunday. Here's what you can expect each day:
Another band of snow will move through the Wasatch Front midday. This band will have the potential to produce moderate to heavy snow at times and some snow could accumulate on roads as this band moves through the metro area. It will move out of the Wasatch Front by early afternoon. After that, scattered snow showers will continue on-and-off through the day. Eastern and southern Utah will also see scattered snow showers this afternoon and evening.
A few more scattered snow showers will pop up in northern Utah both Saturday and Sunday. These snow showers will be very light and spotty and shouldn't cause too many problems. Only light accumulations are expected. Temperatures will remain about 20 below normal for late-March with highs only in the 30s.
The weather will become quiet and dry Monday and Tuesday, but more rain and snow looks possible by the middle of next week.
A snow squall warning has gone into effect now through 12 p.m. for areas from around Davis, Morgan, Salt Lake, Tooele and Utah counties.
Weather officials said to expect intense bursts of heavy snow and gusty winds, leading to blowing snow and rapidly falling visibility. Travel may be hazardous and people should drive prepared and with caution.
They said wind gusts up to 45 miles per hour have been observed in some areas.
Canyons District sent a notice that they were experiencing multiple bus delays due to the snowfall during Tuesday morning's commute. School officials said most of the delays are in the district's easternmost communities.
"While students remain warm and safe aboard our buses, please know it may take time for the buses to arrive at school this morning," they said. "Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work to get students to school safely."
The Utah Department of Transportation urged commuters to delay travels if they can.
According to UDOT's Road Weather Alert:
Travel conditions across mountain routes have already begun to deteriorate and will not begin to meaningfully improve until Friday evening. Valley road conditions are forecast to deteriorate through the morning as well, significantly hindering the Friday morning commute.
As a cold front sweeps through the state this afternoon, gusty west winds will introduce the threat for some blowing & drifting of the new snow, particularly along mountainous routes. Low elevation snow will taper off through Friday afternoon.
Just after 7 a.m., Utah tied the record statewide snowpack of 26.0" snow water equivalent set back in 1983. Friday's winter storm was expected to keep that number climbing.
The cold front rolling over Utah was leaving highways covered in snow and slush and multiple crashes were already leading to further commute setbacks.
UDOT's incident website showed traffic slowing to below 30 miles per hour on I-15 in Davis and Utah counties and below 50 miles per hour for many of the Wasatch Front's other major highways.
2News meteorologist Lindsay Storrs said the widespread snow will continue throughout nearly the entire drive, with a small break in the storm possibly coming around 9 a.m.
"But by about 10 - 11 a.m., our next wave moves in," Storrs said. "It's with us for your lunch hour and continues through the early afternoon."
Currently, it's looking like hit-and-miss showers for the drive home, and Storrs said the weather will continue to be "unsettled" throughout the weekend.
Widespread snow mixed and rain was falling across the state ahead of the morning commute on March 24, though 2News Meteorologist Lindsay Storrs said temperatures are going to cool even more, and those raindrops are expected to become snowflakes as the morning progresses.
I-15 in Utah County was seeing some particularly problematic conditions, where the highway was left slushy under the accumulating snow, and the snow itself was hindering visibility.
2News journalist Kristen McPeek was getting a first-hand look at the conditions Friday morning from the 2News Mobile Weather Lab, where the 70-mile-per-hour speed limit was unattainable as vehicles slogged along at 40 miles per hour.
In Davis County, where roads were slightly damp just two hours prior, a band of snow was dumping new accumulation on I-15, US-89 and Legacy Parkway.
Morning commuters should plan for a longer-than-usual commute.